Turns out, I’ve been a NaNoWriMo rebel for years. I just didn’t know it.
If that sentence confuses you, let’s review some terms.
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, began in 1999 as an audacious but straightforward challenge: write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people across the country and around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a new novel.
What is a NaNoWriMo Rebel?
A NaNoWriMo or NaNo Rebel is a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words in November. You might, for example, decide to revise a manuscript you’ve already written, write a work on nonfiction instead of a novel, or draft a movie or television script. You could simply outline your novel. Or you might decide to write and publish a new blog post every day for 30 days. That’s what I’ve been doing nearly every November since 2012. I call this challenge #BlogLikeCrazy.
So, you see, I’ve been a NaNo rebel since 2012 without realizing it.
In fact, I started Blog Like Crazy because of NaNoWriMo. Every November all of my fiction writer friends were busy working on their novels and I got lonely. So I started Blog Like Crazy to give myself and other nonfiction writers a fun challenge to try.
I wasn’t the only person with this idea. Back in November of 2006 a blogger named M. Kennedy also thought there should be a special NaNo project for bloggers and launched National Blog Posting Month (or NaBloPoMo), which also challenges writers to blog every day for 30 days.
I hadn’t yet heard of NaBloPoMo when I started #BlogLikeCrazy and by the time I did learn about this challenge the women of the See Jane Write community were already big fans of the #BlogLikeCrazy name. (You must admit it’s a lot more fun!) So I kept the party going.
Last year, however, I didn’t Blog Like Crazy and, honestly, had no plans to ever do so again. My relationship with blogging has been on the rocks for months. I attempted to fall in love with blogging again in June of 2022 but to no avail.
So, this year I was planning to be a NaNo rebel by writing 50,000 words of an essay collection instead of a novel. I have the idea and even the title for my next book, but I haven’t written a single word of the manuscript. My plan was to fix that this November.
But each time I sit down to outline my book, NOTHING HAPPENS. How did I get started with my first book, I asked myself one day. The answer was clear: I blogged! So many of the essays in my book Find Your Way Back began as blog posts. Blogging my book not only helped me to stave off writer’s block when it was time to put together my manuscript, but it also helped me build my writer platform along the way.
So this year I’m going to be a NaNo rebel and I’m going to blog like crazy!
Should you #BlogLikeCrazy?
Just because I’m going to blog every day for 30 days in November doesn’t mean you should. Frequently updating your website with new content can help your Google ranking. But this only works if you’re publishing high-quality posts related to your niche. If you’re posting just to post, you’ll miss the mark.
So if you don’t have the time or the energy to blog like a boss, sit this one out. Or you can choose another way to be a NaNoWriMo rebel.
But I’ve decided to go all in. Not only am I going to write and publish a new post every day in November, but I’m also going to revise my old posts for the sake of search engine optimization. I’ve noticed that when I prioritize self-care my self-love soars. So, I’m hoping that as I give my blog all of this loving attention, my passion for posting will soar, too.
5 Things Every NaNoWriMo Rebel Needs
Even if you opt not to blog like crazy with me, many of the tactics I plan to follow so that I can publish new content every day can also help you with any NaNo project you decide to pursue.
I want to offer a few notes or tips for you. I won’t call these rules because the whole point of being a rebel is that you don’t follow the rules! But even a rebel has something that guides her. So here are 5 things I think every NaNo rebel needs:
Purpose. Settle on your goal or project for November. Be sure that it’s something measurable and specific. Don’t set vague goals like, “I want to write more” or “I want to work on my next book.” Choose a word count. Or challenge yourself to write a certain number of pages in your journal. My goal, as I stated, is two-fold: 1) Write and publish a new blog post every day for 30 days and 2) Revise my previously published posts.
Preparation. Just as NaNo purists spend October outlining their plots and crafting their characters, we rebels need to spend time this month preparing as well. I’m going to brainstorm 35 blog post ideas (I want more than 30 ideas in case something falls through). And I’m going to plan out social media content to promote each post. I will also draft a checklist of components that each blog post should contain. I’ll use this to ensure my posts are high quality and I’ll use it to revise my old posts.
Plan. When you’re tackling a big writing project you must have a plan for how you’re actually going to get the work done. You can’t just hope that it’s going to happen! Each Sunday, when I sit down to plan the week ahead, I will be sure to schedule time for writing and revising my blog posts. You must be intentional about planning your writing time as well. If you have kids or if you’re caring for aging parents, get other family members on board so they can help you out. You deserve time for your creative pursuits.
Progress. Find a way to track your progress. If you’re setting out to write 50,000 words of a new novel, you can create an account on the NaNoWriMo website and track your progress there. If you’re a rebel, check out this tracking calculator by Jessica Brody. My progress will mostly be easy to track – either I published a post or I didn’t. But I will also be challenging myself to revise 30 old blog posts every day. Eek!
People. Writers need other writers. Period. My belief in this is why I created See Jane Write, a website and community for women who write. Find a community of other writers who are also tackling major projects in November. They will be your battle buddies in the trenches and your loudest cheerleaders too.
Come join my free Facebook group, the See Jane Write Network to get the support you need as you take on NaNoWriMo.
What project will you pursue in November? Will you be a NaNo purist or rebel? Are you going to blog like crazy? Let me know in the comments.